Federal Circuit - The FindLaw Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Court News Category

Pfizer Loses Patent Appeal, But Wins FDA Approval

At a multi-national monster like Pfizer, good news and bad news happens daily.

Last week, the good news came from government approval of its anemia treatment. The bad news came from a court invalidating one of its patents.

In Anacor Pharmaceuticals v. Iancu, a federal appeals court said a process for using tavaborole was too obvious for patent protection. That's a treatment for "toenail fungus," if you wanted to know.

Oil Field Technology Patents Invalidated

Somewhere beneath the ocean floor, oil pools in rich supply.

On the surface, oil companies fight over the technology to get it. In WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corporation, an appeals court declared a winner.

The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said three WesternGeco patents for finding suboceanic oil were invalid. The winner claims it conquered a leviathan.

Patent Plaintiff Must Pay Defendant's Fees in 'Internet of Things' Claim

A federal appeals court said a patent plaintiff must pay its opponent's attorneys' fees because the plaintiff willfully ignored pre-existing descriptions of its claimed invention.

In Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations v. Guardian Protection Services, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiff and its attorney did not prove the basis for the claim before filing the infringement case. In addition, the court considered evidence that the plaintiff was a vexatious litigant who had filed 58 similar cases only to settle most of them before trial for the cost of defense.

"Rothschild's continued assertions that its patent extends to products simply because they are configured using the Internet... are risible rather than simply unreasonable," Judge Haldane Robert Mayer wrote in a strongly worded concurring opinion.

Patent Claims Over Cialis Revived by Federal Circuit

A federal appeals court has vacated a patent board's finding that a patent for treating penile fibrosis was invalid, reviving a dispute over the erectile dysfunction drug "Cialis."

Remanding the case to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said the board must reconsider the obviousness of the method for "arresting or regressing" penile fibrosis. In Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute v. Eli Lilly and Company, the research firm alleged the pharmaceutical company induced patent infringement through repeated treatments of Cialis.

The question revolves around the long-term use of the erectile dysfunction drug and its positive effects on penile fibrosis.

Apple v. Samsung Returns to District Court

When it comes to a phone and its components, what is the "article of manufacture?"

In the Apple v. Samsung patent infringement case, the U.S. Supreme Court said last year that it could be a product or a component of the product. The decision upended Apple's $399 million judgment against Samsung based on the phone's entire design.

The Supreme Court did not define "the article of manufacture" for calculating damages in the case, however. The justices sent that determination back to the court of appeals.

On remand, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit this week rejected arguments from both Apple and Samsung on the question. Instead, the appeals panel sent the issue back to the trial judge.

"While Apple requests continued panel review, Samsung requests that we remand to the district court for a new trial on damages," the court said. " Instead, we remand this case to the district court for further proceedings, which may or may not include a new damages trial."

Court Cuts Back at PTO on Scalpel Invention

A federal appeals court has breathed life into a doctor's patent claim for a scalpel that helps surgeons repair torn knee ligaments and other injuries.

The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said the Patent and Trademark Office wrongfully denied the doctor's patent by shifting the burden on him to continue his claim. The trademark examiner and board said that a prior invention could perform the same function, but the appeals court said the doctor had done enough to show his scalpel design worked differently.

"For that reason, the examiner failed to make the necessary prima facie showing to shift the burden of going forward to applicant," the court said.

Erroneous Salmonella Warning Not 'a Taking' Federal Cir. Affirms

Under the Takings Clause, the government is not allowed to take individual property for the benefit of the public without just compensation. What constitutes "a taking" has been the subject of debate since the very beginning ...

The Federal Circuit just affirmed a lower District court's decision that a salmonella warning does not amount to a government "taking." The lawyers who represented the growers in this case were really reaching on this one. It's a fine example of creative advocacy.

Year in Review 2014: The 10 Most Popular Federal Cir. Blog Posts

This circuit. This glorious Federal Circuit, with its unique, specialized jurisdiction over a few niche areas of law. Typically, this circuit's run-of-the-mill patent decisions are a bit dry.

But 2014 was different. This past year brought a whole lot of Supreme Court intervention, a scandal that led to a resignation and reprimand, and a new chief judge. In other words: juicy blog material.

Here's what you found most interesting, judging by traffic numbers:

Replacing Rader: Kara Farnandez Stoll Is New Fed. Cir. Nominee

Last week, an en banc panel of the Federal Circuit bench-slapped the other party in the e-mail scandal that led to Chief Judge Randall Rader's retirement. This week, the same court is preparing for a possible new colleague, as there is a nominee to fill Rader's now-vacant seat.

Enter Kara Farnandez Stoll, a partner in the largest firm that practices intellectual property exclusively: Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP (or Finnegan for short). President Barack Obama announced Stoll's nomination Wednesday, and she'll face a post-midterm Republican-controlled Senate during her confirmation process now that the elections are over.

On May 30, 2014, Sharon Prost succeed Randall Rader as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit, and earlier this month Judge Alan Lourie told us the "State of the Court" at the Federal Circuit Bar Association's 16th Annual Bench & Bar Conference.

Amidst all of this change and review for the court, last week Judge Randall Rader had his last day on the Federal Circuit bench and sent an open letter to his colleagues. Just a week later, criticisms of the Federal Circuit and its exclusive jurisdiction of patents are growing ever louder.